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Pian Lian Yeak: A Remarkable Artist

By Darold Treffert, MD

I was delighted to learn about Ping Lian through the worldwide savant syndrome website which brought his remarkable work, and his dedicated family, to my attention. Ping Lian’s artwork stands on its own demonstrating a remarkable artistic ability in an 11-year-old boy. His drawings are colorful, cheerful and impressive. Those drawings take on an added significance, however, when one sees that such a-bility coexists with a dis-ability as described by his mother and teachers. Savant Syndrome is a rare condition in which remarkable skills and abilities — islands of genius — are seen in striking contrast to limitations from a variety of circumstances such as autism or other developmental disabilities.

Such artistic prowess as Ping Lian demonstrates, in addition to providing us with beautiful art, serves as a source of satisfaction, development and growth for him, helping eventually to minimize whatever limitations might spring from his disabilities. Standing behind and beside each of the savants I have worked with as well, however, is a dedicated, patient, loving, determined and perpetually optimistic family which appreciates the special gift within their child, and wish to share it more widely with world. Thus we all become, then, the beneficiaries of that special giftedness, and that determination and optimism, while the artist himself continues to grow and flourish.

(The preceeding paragraph was originally written for Ping Lian’s website.)

Learn more about the extraordinary Ping Lian at http://www.pinglian.com.


Update: May 29, 2009

More recognition for Ping Lian’s artwork

Ping Lian will have his permanent gallery in Malaysia beginning in July, 2009. It is a project of The Art Commune and is supported by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation in collaboration with the Association of British Women in Malaysia. Also, in May 2009, the University Medical Center at Princeton, New Jersey, hosted an international juried exhibition and sale of original art and fine crafts featuring artists with disabilities. Three pieces of Ping Lian’s original art works were chosen for this exhibition, which will run from May 2 to June 17. Ping Lian received First Prize in this juried exhibition for his ink work Christ Church Malacca IV.  Some of his pieces also were included in the Strokes of Genius: Extraordinary Savant Art Exhibit, which was at the United Nations Plaza beginning May 21, 2009.


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For more information, please contact:
Darold A. Treffert, MD
St. Agnes Hospital, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison
Personal website: www.daroldtreffert.com
E-mail: daroldt@charter.net